Addis Ababa: Geospatial experts from different parts of the globe came together in the beautiful city of Addis Ababa to participate in the combined AfricaGIS 2013 and GSDI World Conference. Being organised jointly by EIS-Africa, the GSDI Association, the International Geospatial Society, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and Addis Ababa University, the conference took place at the UNECA conference centre.
With its theme as ‘Spatial Enablement in Support of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction’, the conference aims to look at the ways and means to spatially enable government, industry and citizens and thus support overall economic development and poverty reduction in Africa.
Welcoming the attendees to the conference, Sives Govender, Director, EIS-Africa, said that the conference was an excellent learning opportunity. He said that Africa is faced with plenty of challenges such as providing means of livelihood to an ever growing population as well as managing its limited natural resources.
During the conference experts called for a collaborative approach to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our planet. Another major highlight of the conference was the launch of the AfriGEOSS programme, which according to experts is an extremely important step towards linking current GEO activities with the existing capabilities and initiatives in Africa in order to enhance the region’s capacity for producing, managing and using earth observations.
Addressing the gathering during his presentation, Michele Anthony from the US Geological Survey, highlighted the capabilities of the ‘Geospatial Platform’ such as its ability to support online collaboration among communities for themes, a unified resource catalogue to support discovery and connection to online data and applications, the creation and publication of Web map ”mashups,” and support of portfolio management information for national geospatial data assets.
Lorant Czaran’s presentation introduced the UNGIWG (United Nations Geographic Information Working Group) as a UN inter-agency working group and also highlighted the group’s major achievements during the past decade. The presentation pointed out that the group’s efforts to build a UNSDI for improved coordination and efficient use of resources would lead to tremendous benefits for all UN member states and contribute to improved data and resource sharing between UN and national or regional organisations.
During the session titled ‘Economic Development & Poverty’, Dave TiOluwa Akinyemi (Green Hills Academy) showed how Rwanda”s innovative e-Soko project has enabled farmers in the region to make better market pricing decisions, which has resulted in successful trade.
The session on ‘Enabling Citizens’ saw presentations from Clarisse Kagoyire (University of Twente), Ernest Uwayezu (National University of Rwanda), Dev Raj Paudyal (University of Southern Queensland) and Georg Gartner (Vienna University of Technology). Each of the presentations focussed on how citizen derived spatial information can improve productivity and efficiency in various verticals such as agriculture, natural resource management, urban planning, land registration etc. Some of the other sessions held during the day included ‘Vulnerabilities and Assessments’, ‘Agriculture’, ‘Tracking Physical Change’, and ‘Industry Showcase’.
Source: Our Correspondent